Estimated reading time: 11 minute(s)
Email signatures. Weekly calendar events. Even employee autopay. Some things in business you can set and forget. Your website isn’t one of them.
Many companies put a lot of effort into the launch of a website and then don’t touch it for years on end. But as industries change and businesses evolve, websites—especially homepages—get stale and out of date.
Homepages are the storefronts of your business. They need to truly sing—and sing the right song—to effectively entice your audience, earn their trust, and compel them to engage.
When considering if you need a new homepage, here are the four most important things to ask yourself:
Does it capture attention?
Humans have short attention spans. Shocker. Try having a conversation with someone while they’re on their phone and you’ll see what I mean. The kicker? Our attention spans are barely long enough to watch a Vine video, clocking in at eight seconds. Geez.
It makes sense though. With constant digital and mobile stimuli, it’s like our brains are always in the middle of Times Square—constantly inundated with flashing lights, screens, ideas, voices, and more.
This causes us to make judgements—whether right or wrong—quickly. In a study from 2012, Missouri University of Science and Technology researchers concluded that it only takes 2.6 seconds for a viewer to become solidified in their first impression of your site. If that impression is negative, they’ll leave immediately.
So an effective homepage has to capture the audience’s attention—and fast.
Does it express your message concisely?
Successful homepages are like a good pick-up line: short, sweet, and to the point. The copy blocks are minimal, the sentences are short and pithy, and there aren’t any long para—you get the point.
Though brevity often starts with the design of your site, the copy—the words themselves—matter deeply. Sure, you have short pieces of copy, but are they actually saying something? And not just something, but something meaningful.
You want your audience to get a good sense of your business immediately. They shouldn’t be confused about what you do, but they also shouldn’t be buried in explanations right away. It’s a true balancing act. And it takes careful strategy.
When it doubt, ask yourself what you’d tell a stranger at a cocktail party. What’s the most important thing about your business that you’d share in less than 30 seconds? That’s the best place to start.
Does it start with your reader’s perspective?
Readers want to feel understood. They want to know you and your business have their best interests at heart—that you understand their pain points and know how to address them.
That’s why when I see a website that says “we, we, we” I get angry. Your homepage, first and foremost, should start with the reader.
You don’t have the right to make your argument automatically. You have to earn it. To do this, you have to demonstrate that you empathize with your audience.
This is especially important for younger audiences. Studies have shown that millennials and Gen Z have lost trust in businesses. To reach these populations, you have to be authentic. Make sure your homepage conveys your honest concern for your audience, and your genuine desire and ability to help—without lazily pandering.
Does it drive momentum?
A homepage is essentially a landing page. It’s not meant to be the final destination of the visitor journey. Instead, it’s supposed to be a stepping stone for users to click through, seek answers to their questions, learn more, and, hopefully, become a customer.
As such, your homepage needs to drive your visitor forward—not keep them stuck in a broken record loop, scrolling up and down without a further click. It has to work to make sure it’s not the last place that your audience visits.
More than strategically placed calls-to-action and seamless clicking, the homepage needs to use words—active, enticing copy—to influence this journey. When that happens, you’ll be able to sit back and enjoy watching visitors click through your site, and ultimately engage.
Think your homepage could use a makeover? Reach out to our team at MarketSmiths today to get started.